Owning my fatness was an integral part of loving myself.
I struggled with disordered eating throughout my teen years and early adulthood. I achieved thinness for a time. It brought me no happiness.
During my early twenties, I came across a local corset maker who made the most beautiful corsets. I longed for a custom one, but decided that I would wait until I was the Right Size. I was worried you see, that I would invest money in a custom product, lose weight, and it wouldn’t fit anymore. I used it as an incentive – lose weight and you can purchase the corset. Time went by, I didn’t lose weight, I didn’t get the corset. At some point I decided Fuck It, I am going to go in and get one anyhow. I went to the store and found out that years of sewing had given the corset maker carpal tunnel syndrome and she was no longer making them. This was part of a series of a-ha! moments over several years that lead to me owning that fact that…
I am fat. Which is simply descriptive word, not a moral judgement, and certainly no reason to put my life on hold. I have reclaimed this word and made it my own. It brings me happiness.
For the people. For the planet. For the animals.
Like many young queers, I toyed with vegetarianism off and on over the years, including a brief stint as a raw vegan when I was twenty. It didn’t stick until a semester in university in which every class explored a different aspect of the harms of factory farming. From pig farming waste degrading rural communities to run-off destroying aquatic ecosystems, the choice seemed clear to me. I was already eating plant based meals multiple times a week with my vegan partner who modeled that eating vegan could be delicious, affordable, and easy, so I took the leap. I haven’t looked back since and take great delight in feeding people who ask, incredulously, “are you sure this is vegan?”
My philosophy towards veganism is one of minimizing harm, and has no room for militant perfectionism or bigotry. If your veganism includes compassion for animals over compassion for people, then you are perpetuating the harm and oppression you purport to fight against.
In 2014, I started a monthly brunch for trans and queer folks in my home. I had long been frustrated with the lack of queer spaces outside of bars and parties, or educational spaces. The premise was simple – show up, bring a dish or ingredient or just yourself, and eat around a table. Queer Brunch has been running monthly now for three years, and it is the highlight of my month.
My beliefs towards food, people and the importance of meal sharing and feeding our communities is what drove the beginning of Queer Brunch. I view the creation of food as an overture of friendship, sometimes an act of service, and always an act of love, including self-love.
If my queerness is about liberation from heterosexist norms and includes the creation of chosen family and community support networks, then my medium is femme : subverting mainstream notions of femininity for the purposes of community creation, seduction, nurturance and movement building.